Monitoring 147.270/R and 145.670/S(FM/DV) and 442.750/DV in Toledo, Ohio

APRS - Automatic Packet and Reporting System

APRS, Automatic Packet and Reporting System, is a system developed by Bob Bruninga (WB4APR) to track assets in real-time and disseminate relevant information around the area.  It's not GPS or vehicle tracking system. It's a way to communicate via packet/digital communications in real-time to amateur radio systems.  Anything shown here pre 5/2011 was KD8JGR (my old call).  Currently, I'm N8ZAK.  But again, this isn't just for "tracking" - you can communciate via "text messaging", get your email while mobile, get weather reports from real-time reporting stations, etc.

Here's my location as reported from my Yaesu VX-8R handheld (notice I've even placed a comment in there).

I've seen everything from cars, trucks, ships, airplanes, weather stations, etc. transmit information about the vehicle or system to other APRS systems in the area.  It really is a handy system. You can even send email via the APRS system.

Here's a view of mobile traffic in 2008 and it tracked all this in real-time.

One interesting aspect that people should be setting in their mobile ham radio units and HT's is what's called Voice Alert.  This will automatically inform you of another ham radio operator in the vicinity on 146.520 Mhz assuming your publishing APRS information on 144.390 Mhz and a CTCSS code of 100.  Please DO NOT set up your home base station with this setup however.  It takes away the true functionality of the system.

 Here's a view of a trip we took to Milwaukee, WI and it tracked all this in real-time.


One thing that was nice about the way some repeater owners setup their APRS systems, was when driving through Chicago or Milwaukee, a popup would show up on my Yaesu FTM-350R and tell me the repeater frequency and PL tone.  This was nice especially for people out of the area.  Helps when traveling if you have to ask the locals for directions or just rag-chew to pass the time.

 Here's a view of my mobile traffic around Toledo, OH over a 7 day period.

 Smart-Beaconing...It's not perfect.

As you can tell from above, smart-beaconing isn't perfect, but it's good enough.  That's why I'm not totally afraid of broadcasting my location (see below).  Of course, the layout of the Bass-Pro Shops parking lot above is a little frustrating to get out of.  So yes, I did take the long way around.  :)

Disclaimer: Some say this is a little "Big Brother" and hey, now people know when you're not home.  Really?  Trust me, the government can find you if they really need to.  And as far as trying to break into my house.  Try it!  I dare you.  We live in a neighborhood with 4 police officers less than 15 seconds from my house and it's secured 24/7/365 and fully alarmed.  Oh, and watch out - you may be looking down the barrel of some cold hard steel!  Just for fun, I might break out the golf clubs and use your face as a tee box!  Have a nice day.  (Really, I'm a nice guy...just don't make me wouldn't like me when I'm angry!) 

73 - Zack